So, I won’t lie. Starting a new qualification during a global pandemic probably wasn’t my greatest plan, but nonetheless, we learn to take the positives out of all situations, right?
Since joining Wolds Equine Sports Massage & Rehabilitation Training back in April 2020 I have been working very hard on assignments and practical aspects of my learning. I wanted to utilise the quieter time of not being able to treat clients in person to really learn more and complete my qualification in something I love such as Equine Therapy
Module 1 was very theory based, mainly encompassing the bread and butter of the course, the Equine Anatomy & Physiology. Goodness, I really did enjoy this module given my background of human musculoskeletal knowledge (and nerdiness). What did surprise me was how much I enjoyed branching further afield and learning about the respiratory, endocrine, lymphatic and digestive systems too. Having submitted my assignment electronically I was pleased to of received my feedback and passing the module by the end of April.
With the pandemic not easing up at all, I knuckled down and began module 2. This is where the Equine muscular system was explored in even more detail- and I LOVED IT! I learnt about stress points within a horse’s anatomy, reasons behind muscular atrophy (wastage) and strains. In addition, I learnt the origin and insertions of key muscle groups and their actions on the equine skeletal frame. This was a much longer assignment, and I used my horse Bella a lot to help me with revising the locations of muscles and direction of fibres etc. I was very pleased to of passed that module at the beginning of June.
I began to work through module 3 which really opened the door to the treatment and hands on aspect of the course. During this module I learnt about the principles and concepts of massage, taking a real interest in the contraindications of massage (when not to massage). Learning how to recognise signs of release and the many different types of moves & techniques which was also very interesting although, thankfully some are really similar to human Sports Massage! What I also liked about this module is it taught us to observe a horse, knowing which parts of the animal to look at, what to look for and how to visually assess before even touching them.
By this time, here in the UK, things were looking up for the summer. I was able to attend two practical days in August and September which were great! I got to meet my lecturer in person as well as other students on the course. It was a jam packed few days, but it was fantastic learning from everyone around me and getting some hands-on practise with guidance and advice. With these completed and some added confidence I submitted my module 3 assignment. It was a hard one, with every stroke & technique filmed/edited and sent off. The assessment sheet was formatted as if I were completing a real-life consultation and treatment session on the horse. I had to detail justifications for why I had chosen the routines filmed and my thought process behind it all. I had flashbacks to university for both my undergraduate & masters and let me tell you… I was as nervous now as I was then! But thankfully I passed!
Module 4 is the hardest of them all. Theory wise it entails business & marketing pointers, recapping massage routines and practise final exam questions. Ideally this is to be submitted and passed after practical day number 4 ready for the FINAL EXAM! With my 3rd practical day cancelled due to the November lockdown and the UK not really coming out of this yet, it’s a waiting game. The yards we work on had to close and now a back log of various training and riding means it’s all pretty crazy! So, as it stands, I’m just practising…. practise, practise and more practise. My lecturer has been great with providing video clips & helpful pointers. Offering WhatsApp calls and group webinars for continued learning.
As it stands, my plan is to book my 3rd & 4th practical days as soon as we are given the green light. I’m hopeful with these practical days in the diary they will give me the opportunity to finesse and fine tune my rusty horsey hands. I will then complete and submit my module 4 case study and, in the hope that I pass that, enter in for my final exam!
Although I feel lost at the moment and hating the thought of being stuck in neutral, I’m trying to remain optimistic and know I’ve already completed the majority of the work and now it literally is;
2 practical days
It’s going to be fine… right?
*must keep smiling*
I wanted to bring a little bit of an update through this month’s blog of where I am with it all. I’m hopeful that with lockdown easing and us being able to get back on the yards I’ll fly through the remaining parts of the course and then I can start treating all of your amazing horses!
Thank you for taking the time to read blog. Maybe next month I’ll have progressed further with me Equine learning! Until then…
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Wolds Student Equine Sport & Rehabilitation Therapist